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Allen & Overy (A&O) has put a Canada launch on the back-burner. Partners rejected the Canada proposals in favour of focusing on Australia.
Earlier this year senior partner David Morley put together a commercial study on Canada, but A&O’s board rejected immediate launch proposals to focus instead on its Australia offices. However, sources suggest that a number of partners feel that, if an inexpensive Canada opportunity comes along, the firm will take advantage of it.
In June A&O sent fact-finding envoys to Canada to talk with firms and the market filled with rumours of a raid or merger. Torys, one of Canada’s ’seven sister’ firms, was touted as the most likely merger partner, but this was rejected by Torys managing partner Les Viner.
“Our firm met A&O representatives in June,” said one lawyer at a large Canadian firm. “A&O’s still interested in Canada and is keeping it on its radar, but there no longer appears to be an immediate interest.
“There was a lot of excitement last year about UK firms opening here, but now a lot of them have realised that Canada’s well-served by its lawyers and there’s no significant growth coming in.”
An A&O statement said: “We are aware of the rumours, but we currently have no plans to open in Canada.”